SCOTLAND'S hospitals are set to become entirely free from car parking charges.

The news comes after the Scottish Government moved to provide the funds that will allow local health board chiefs to take over the running of the car parks at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital.

More than £35 million of public cash will be used to take over the car parks – which had previously operated under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

Negotiations are also at an advanced stage to allow the last remaining PFI hospital car park in Scotland, at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, to be taken into public ownership.

The move comes after parking charges at the three PFI sites were suspended at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

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And in the run-up to the Holyrood elections in May, the SNP had pledged to end hospital parking charges permanently at PFI sites in Scotland during its first 100 days in office.

The Scottish Government has now provided £26.3 million to allow NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to complete the buyout of the PFI car park contract at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

A similar arrangement has been reached for NHS Tayside to buyout the PFI car park contract at Ninewells in Dundee for £9 million.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I am delighted to announce that these facilities will come into public hands and help phase out the legacy of PFI in hospital car parks in Scotland.

“We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to our NHS workforce for their heroic efforts throughout the pandemic and this will ensure that, along with patients and visitors using our hospitals, they will not face the prospect of parking charges returning.

“There are no car parking changes in place at any hospitals after this Scottish Government secured an arrangement to suspend these at the three PFI sites at the start of the pandemic. Charges at other NHS car parks had already been abolished by this Government.

“This announcement shows we are determined to ensure they will not return at any PFI site in Scotland.

“Talks are progressing well with the owners of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh site and I am hopeful of reaching an agreement in due course.

“As this progresses we will be keeping the car park at the hospital free while the final agreement is reached.”